Microchip has boosted its top end with the new PIC32MZ EC family. It delivers 330 DMIPS and has a 2 Mbyte, dual panel flash memory that allows live updates plus 512 Kbytes of RAM that can handle even more robust operating systems and large applications.
The 200 MHz PIC32MZ (Fig. 1) is based on MIPS’ microAptiv core (see MIPS Aptiv Family Brings Consolidation And Raises Performance Bar). The microAptiv CPU has a 5-stage pipeline. Microchip has also included DSP support with 159 new instructions. This supports the microMIPS instruction set architecture (ISA) that mixes 16- and 32-bit instructions. This provides MIPS32 performance while also supporting the MIPS16 ISA used on existing MIPS-based Microchip microcontrollers. The new instruction set is more efficient for generating more compact applications.
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The cache-based core also has a reduced interrupt latency that is now just 10 cycles. Debugging support has been extended to include real time trace capabilities.
Communication is the family’s strong point with support for 10/100 Ethernet, dual CAN 2.0b ports and High Speed USB 2.0. Each has multiple, dedicated DMA channels. The quad SPI, called Serial Quad Interface (SQI) by Microchip, allows high speed access to SPI peripherals and serial flash memory. The DMA channels and processor are connected to the high speed bus matrix. The slow peripheral bus handles timers, I2C, regular SPI, and I2S interfaces.
The chip makes a great gateway platform for the Internet of Things (IoT). The inclusion of a crypto engine with a built-in random number generator (RNG) helps keep things secure.
Communication is important but this is a microcontroller with plenty of digital and analog I/O. The 12-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) operates at speeds up to 28 Msamples/s. The 48-channels can be directed to 6 sample-and-hold circuits. The analog side also has a pair of comparators.
Developers can get started with a number of kits and modules. The PIC32MZ Plug-in Module (PIM) works with the Microchip Explorer 16 board. This board handles the other 16- and 32-bit PIC processors.
The $119 PIC32MZ Embedded Connectivity Starter Kit (Fig. 2) is a standalone platform. It has an on-board debugger and exposes all the peripheral interfaces. The SQI interface is attached to 4 Mbyte SQI flash memory.
Daughterboards like the $299 PIC32 Multimedia Expansion Board II (Fig. 3) can be attached to the PIC32MZ kit. The board includes a WQVGA graphics LCD touch display with projected capacitive multitouch support. It also has a 3-axis accelerometer, 24-bit stereo output plus WiFi and Bluetooth support.
The PIC32 is supported by Microchip’s free MPLAB X IDE and C compiler. It is also supported by Microchip’s new Harmony framework. The framework integrates third party middleware plus drivers, peripheral libraries and real time operating systems. Harmony is ideal for the PIC32MZ that has plenty of memory headroom as well as a generous peripheral complement.
Pricing for the PIC32MZ starts at $6.68. It is available in packages as small as 9-mm by 9-mm. This includes a 64-pin QFN.